The Colorado School of Mine’s volleyball team started the season off right at the 2015 Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn Oredigger Classic tournament the first weekend of September achieving a flawless 4-0. Through hefty practicing and mental focus, the Lady Orediggers are on their way to more victories.
Based on preseason data, the team is forecasted to climb far up the ladder. Senior Danielle Johnson- Hazlewood was awarded the Preseason RMAC Player and Setter of the Year.
“As a team, we’re looking good. It’s more a matter of who shows up on what day. Every team goes after us for blood so we’ll have to work really hard and make sure we’re focused for every game. I’m the same way—I have to get focused everyday just like anybody else,” Johnson-Hazlewood declares.
“As a team, I think well do pretty well. We have seven new incoming freshmen and we’re just trying to get them on board,” Sophomore Ellie Monarch agrees. The team will be able to go far through becoming not only physically fit, but mentally fit as well.
“I think we’ve implemented more mental training into our workouts so it’s not just about the physical game anymore, it’s about who is mentally and physically prepared for every match,” states Johnson-Hazlewood. Though there are quite a few new recruits this year, as long as they gather together and trust each other as a team, they will succeed.
The three hour daily practices and weightlifting throughout the day began the Monday before school started. On top of a busy Mine’s student schedule, how do these girls—and any student athlete—balance life and school?
“At first it’s a shocker especially if you haven’t been exposed to it. But our program implements things for the freshmen so that they get on their studies. Most people can get on it, but if not we help them out,” says Johnson-Hazlewood. Sophomore Ellie Monarch agrees, “It’s a balancing act for sure. We get used to it and learn time management.”
As usual, the team’s main rivals this year are Metro State University and Regis University. Mines students should be on the lookout for more home games because, as Monarch says, “We’re always looking for a good, strong fan base at the games. Volleyball is fun and sometimes we’re a boring team .We don’t like to do fancy things—we’re all about technique and winning—but it’s nice to have people cheering in the crowd.” Though volleyball in and of itself is exciting to watch, this year they will be implementing more enticing events into the games.
“This year we’re having a lot of prizes that we’re giving out at the games and DJs and stuff like that so hopefully we can get more fans to our games. We love having loud crowds. The louder the fans, the more amped we get on the court,” Johnson- Hazlewood attests.